While people once gathered way back when around the town square to talk about the news of the community, Twitter is now the global town square, said Twitter CEO Dick Costolo at the All Things D conference today. But while it is builds that square, Costolo wants users to govern themselves.
"We are building this global town square," Costolo said on stage during an interview with conference executive producer Kara Swisher. "We see this around planned events and unplanned events. It is public, it's real-time and it's conversational." He referenced the Oscars or Super Bowl as planned events and events like the Boston Bombings or Hurricane Sandy as unplanned events where Twitter users gather to discuss and share opinions.
But Costolo says that Twitter is not the law enforcement agency (our words, not his). While Twitter does have to address security in the form of hackers and compromised accounts with tools like two-factor authentication, the users are responsible for moderating the conversation, Costolo explained.
"I think the beauty of Twitter today is when those rumors surface, the crowd is doing a good job of sorting out what is real and what is rumor. It is minutes later that people will say that's not true," he explained. He added that Twitter will not take the place of news organizations; it will be a complement to them.
"We think of ourselves as very complementary to news organizations, we are a platform for the real-time, global public distribution for the participants," the 49-year-old CEO said. Costolo said Twitter is planning to partner more with news organizations.
Costolo says the company is working hard on security. After a series of high -profile Twitter hacks, including the account of the Associated Press, last week Twitter rolled out two-factor verification for all users. Many media outlets have complained that the new feature, which makes users confirm their identity twice when they log onto the service, isn't ideal for people sharing multiple accounts.
"We launched two-factor authentication," Costolo said, "but two-factor wouldn't stop some of these attacks. We've got a bunch of security people on it, and we're investing money."